The Sydney-based brewery, which is backed by Founders First, opened its Cairns venue last month, joining the ranks of FNQ brewers like Hemingway’s and Barrier Reef Brewing Co.
“It’s a long time coming. We were aiming for May/June and then the world imploded. In the last three months, it’s been a mad dash to the finish, the venue looks amazing,” said Sauce founder Mike Clarke at a press event last night.
He has been up in Queensland for the past 11 weeks completing the venue, which is located in a developing area of Cairns. Clarke hopes to contribute to the area’s rejuvenation as a dining precinct, in a town which has been hard hit by the travel restriction.
“There is definitely a non-tourist season here which is different from Marrickville, but for us that’s not still not been the case in the last six months! But the locals are still keen to go out and drink still, they can still come, bring the family in and have a nice meal.
“And we’re bringing more people into this part of town.”
The venue will become a fully-fledged brewpub next year when their 10hL kit is up and running, and will then brew a number of Cairns-only beers to suit local tastes.
“Our expansion into the far north of Queensland is a good way to extend the brand and get more people experiencing Sauce up close and personal,” he said.
But Clarke also said he was very aware of the differences between Sauce’s two venues.
“We’ve got some rivalry with the two, the Marrickville and Cairns venues, comparing the revenue for the week for a bit of a competition, though they are completely different places.
“At the moment there are no busy seasons anywhere and up here we’ve got a little bit of room still most days, Saturdays are full, Fridays and Sundays semi-full, and COVID numbers are restricted anyway.”
When COVID restrictions are lifted it will have capacity for 400 customers at any one time, and the venue, situated next to Coral Sea Brewing, also has a full kitchen, complimenting the other dining businesses in the precinct.
Clarke explained that while many of the Founders First team have been in lockdown in Melbourne, they have been helping from a distance.
“The guys there have helped with the hospo and kitchen side of things, while I run the beer and business side. There are lots of team meetings, they’ve done everything they can from Melbourne which is quite a bit.”
Sauce Brewing Cairns has 18 taps including regulars Hop Sauce, Extra-hop Sauce, Bubble & Squeak, Peach, Piss-weak and Pils as well as guest taps.